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Surat APMC chief quits after appointing directors without holding elections

Surat’s Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee, biggest in Gujarat, has an annual turnover of around Rs 2,000 crore.

By: Express News Service | Surat |
Updated: July 7, 2022 6:49:32 pm
APMC vice-chairman Sandeep Desai told reporters on Thursday afternoon that Raman Jani (Patel), as chairman of the committee, had misused his position and appointed two new directors without holding elections.(File Photo)

The chairman of Surat’s Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), biggest in Gujarat, has resigned following a tussle with its vice-chairman, who is also the ruling BJP’s district president.

APMC vice-chairman Sandeep Desai told reporters on Thursday afternoon that Raman Jani (Patel), as chairman of the committee, had misused his position and appointed two new directors without holding elections.

“There were complaints from other directors about the behaviour of Jani as he did not listen to them on different issues and took decisions on his own without consulting them. The major issue was the appointment of Prince Patel and Kishor Dala as directors. Now in the coming days, a new chairman will be appointed with the consent of all the directors. I am not in the race to become the chairman because the Assembly elections are round the corner and I have to devote more time to the party,” Desai told The Indian Express.

Out of the 17 directors of the APMC, 14 are elected every five years and three are nominated by the state government.

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The new directors—of whom Prince is Jani’s grandson—were appointed without elections after two directors—Dhriubhai Patel and Hasmukh Gandhi—died a few months ago. The other directors objected to these appointments and urged Jani to resign. They planned to pass a resolution to remove Jani as chairman on Monday. However, on learning that he did not have the directors’ support, Jani resigned on Sunday, before the proposed no-confidence motion.

Besides helming the APMC for the past 25 years, Jani was also the chairman of the state agriculture board. The APMC’s annual turnover by the sale of vegetables is around Rs 2,000 crore. Around 1,500 vegetable farmers from Surat, south Gujarat, north Gujarat and border districts of Maharashtra sell their produce to 465 traders at the APMC every day.

After stepping down, Jani alleged that Desai had threatened the directors to remain in his camp. He also alleged that Desai had collected money from traders of the APMC to felicitate “Covid warriors” without keeping an account of the donations.

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Desai later rejected all the allegations levelled by Jani. When contacted, Jani declined to comment.

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First published on: 07-07-2022 at 06:22:13 pm

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